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PetroChina plans to open first Indian office in Mumbai: sources

SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - China’s top oil and gas producer PetroChina is preparing to open its first South Asia office in India to scout for business opportunities in oil and liquefied natural gas, three industry sources told Reuters.

This is another sign of China expanding its role in overseas markets after years of building refining capacity and as a refined oil product glut builds in Asia.

The company was registered as PetroChina International (India) on July 17 with a total paid-up capital of 33 million rupees ($444,000) in Mumbai, according to the information posted on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website.

It has three directors listed including Rajesh Sampatkumar Modani, who had been working as a principal consultant with law firm Trilegal, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The others are Hongwei Xia, who is currently at PetroChina’s Singapore office, and Chi Zhang.

PetroChina plans to trade in oil products and crude oil through the Indian office, one of the sources familiar with the matter said.

“For products, India is nearer to Africa, so it makes sense to buy from India and export,” the source added.

PetroChina already buys refined products from Nayara Energy and Reliance Industries, said a second source familiar with the company’s plan.

He said the company is scouting for space to open its corporate office, and is using a temporary address for registration of the Indian entity.

Chinese state-owned refiners have recently been boosting shipments of oil products such as diesel to Europe, South America and West Africa as they expand their foothold outside of China.

CNPC, the parent company of PetroChina, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

PetroChina International currently has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, Kazakhstan, Japan, London, Russia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Dubai, according to the company website.

($1 = 74.2700 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in SINGAPORE and Nidhi Verma in NEW DELHI; Editing by Christian Schmollinger